Back To The Glossary


Identification is a state where our “feeling of I” or center of gravity moves outward to a person, thing, thought, feeling or event. We become what we are identified with and thus are psychologically asleep.

“We are told in this Work that one of the things that we have to observe in ourselves is identifying. It is said that identifying is the most terrible force acting on this planet that keeps people asleep and so prevents them from awakening. As we are – that is, as mechanical people, who do everything mechanically and have not got any proper consciousness – we identify at every moment. We identify with our thoughts, with our feelings, and we identify with what happens in outer life. … In the Work of self-observation we are told in what direction to observe ourselves and the reason for this is to be able to separate ourselves very gradually from all these unnecessary forms of identifying with transient thoughts, moods and feelings. We then begin to have something that stands behind. We then begin to see ourselves, as it were, on the stage in front of us. We begin to see all sorts of different ‘I’s in us, saying this and thinking that, and behaving like that and holding forth like that, as something unreal, something that is not oneself, something that has nothing to do with Real ‘I.’ In other words, we begin to see our mechanicalness. All this is a very great step to take and once a person has taken it, he or she can never be the same person again.”

– Maurice Nicoll, Commentaries, “Commentary on Identifying,” May 25, 1946, Vol. 3, pp. 899-900

The development of the consciousness needed to get out of the prison of identification begins with the core Work practices of self-observation, non-identification and Self-remembering.